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Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice and matches

Description of Activity

Use the Opening designed by your group or the one provided below.

Gather around the chalice. As a volunteer lights the chalice, ask the group to focus on the word "cooperation." Invite participants to speak freely into the space a word or two that they associate with the word "cooperation." When enough time has passed for everyone who wishes to speak to do so, close by saying,

May the space we create here today be wide enough to hold all our individual ideas and deep enough to allow those ideas to grow, to fruit, and to provide seeds for new beginnings.

Introduce today's workshop with these words,

Writing a poem is an act that certainly can be its own reward. However, as an art form and a mode of communication, poetry lends itself to sharing with an audience. A Poetry Slam, or a public poetry reading, provides a forum to do just that. Unlike some poetry slams, ours will not be a competition, but a cooperative performance that allows everyone to contribute according to his/her own talents.

When you release a poem into the world, it ceases to be a private treasure or an unconnected object. Your poem suddenly has a new power: the power to affect others. A number of questions arise: For whom, or to whom, did you write your poem? Would you prefer that someone read it or hear it? What do you hope your reader or listener will feel? Think? Do? How can you fine-tune your poem to "speak" for you most clearly?

Today, as we hear and create create poems, we will pay attention to how a poem that is read aloud can touch the listener. Next time we meet, we will select poetry that we ourselves have written and poems by other, favorite poets to share with an audience in a public poetry event. After that, we will host our poetry-reading event.

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